4 September 2013 by Rui Ribeiro
Our top six places to stay in the Seychelles
This archipelago of 115 postcard perfect islands in the Indian Ocean is understandably a dream destination. Deciding where to stay can be difficult though - the standards in the Seychelles are high, with a surfeit of 5-star hotels and plenty of private island retreats to choose from. So we've chosen six resorts we consider to be among the best, to make life just that little bit easier.
FREGATE ISLAND PRIVATE
Formerly a pirate hideout, remote and rugged Frégate now provides a far more indulgent kind of hiding-away from it all. With just 16 villas, the resort never accommodates more than 40 guests at any time, and as it takes up the entire island, space and privacy are pretty much guaranteed. It's even possible to have exclusive use of a beach by the simple act of turning a sign to read ‘beach occupied'. Given that there are seven to choose from, this is rarely necessary. Anse Victorin, bordered by granite cliffs and lush palm trees, is especially gorgeous, and is consistently voted the ‘most beautiful beach in the world', but Anse Maquereau is almost as stunning, with sand as blindingly white, washed by waves just as blue.
The accommodation is as pleasing, beautifully crafted from native mahogany, with thatched roofs. Each villa is spacious, with a separate living room, two bathrooms (each with their own private outdoor shower) and dining pavilions. Each has a private infinity pool and lovely large terraces for lounging on, overlooking lush jungle and the changing blues of the Indian Ocean. All come with butler service, as you'd expect from a resort where the mantra is ‘Anything, Anytime, Anywhere'.
This is especially fun when it comes to dining. Although the resort has two restaurants and two bars, with the main Frégate Hosue restaurant serving Creole and African cuisine, and the colonial-style Plantation House often holding barbeques; one of the real thrills here is dining anywhere you want, when you want. The choices are all captivating - a private table on a beach, or in the tree house, or on Mont Signal, the highest point on the island, or perhaps on the island's plantation. This last option is an interesting one, with guests choosing ingredients from the vast array of vegetables, fruit and herbs grown here - the chef is on hand to advise, inform and of course create a culinary treat, served to guests under the shade of a tree.
There are plenty of other treats on offer, of course, from sashimi picnics on boats, sunset cruises, helicopter rides to neighbouring islands, stargazing, a spa, yoga, winding mountain trails to explore by hiking or on mountains bikes. But perhaps the single most special aspect of Frégate is the abundance of wildlife, and the resort's dedication to conservation.
It's a real success story. Frégate safeguards the nests of endangered Hawksbill Turtles, is home to 2,000 Giant Aldabra Tortoises that roam at will, provides a sanctuary to hundreds of thousands of tropical birds, and has managed to save the Seychelles Magpie Robin from extinction. Of all the wonderful activities available here, don't miss a nature walk with one of the resident conservationists - it's sure to be an inspiring experience, a special part of what is bound to be a memorable holiday in memorable surroundings.
Speak to a consultant on 020 7590 0619 to stay on Frégate Island
FOUR SEASONS, MAHÉ ISLAND
The Four Seasons is built into the hillside around the horseshoe bay of Petite Anse. The beach lining the bay is one of the most beautiful in the Seychelles, the stereotype of a perfect beach, sand as soft and white as icing sugar, lapped by a brilliantly blue sea. It's practically a private beach too, as the Four Seasons is the only hotel in the bay. Service is as impeccable as you'd expect from this prestigious group, and the accommodation as refined. The villas, suites and private residences are stylishly decorated, spacious, with decent sized private pools and set far enough apart to allow for a real sense of privacy. There's little to choose between them in terms of creature comforts, but the Hillside Villas have the edge over the Garden Villas in terms of the views.
MAIA, MAHÉ ISLAND
Maia perfects that difficult act of being both incredibly high-end and so laid back as to be almost rustic. There's nothing really rustic about this gorgeous resort though - villas are vast, sumptuous and secluded, and the setting and scenery are outstanding, a hillside location overlooking a splendid beach, a crescent of silver sand alongside an aquamarine sea. Fine dining, private butlers, yoga sessions, a manicure and pedicure in your own villa are just some of the extra luxuries here - but we're particularly taken by the painting kit provided - the surroundings are of the sort that will inspire you to capture them for posterity. This is a place for guests who value their privacy highly and who want their escape to be entirely escapist.
Raffles Praslin is a relative newcomer, opened in 2011, but is by far the best resort-style hotel on the island of Praslin. The setting is stunning - lush green hills, a perfect beach and the opal-hued Indian Ocean surround the villas. These are spacious, sleek and sophisticated, with private plunge pools, outdoor pavilions and round-the-clock butler service. It would be easy to spend the entire time in the villas, but it's worth venturing to the Takamaka roof terrace to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sun go down. More strenuous options include numerous non-motorised watersports on the hotel's beach, and day trips to Curieuse Island, just across the bay and home to giant tortoises.
HILTON SEYCHELLES LABRIZ, SILHOUETTE ISLAND
There's a real Robinson Crusoe feel to the Hilton Seychelles Labriz, the only resort on Silhouette Island. Much of the island is a nature reserve, so it's a place of great natural beauty, with pristine beaches and virgin rainforest to enjoy, and the hotel offers guided nature tours. Accommodations consist entirely of private villas, with a garden terrace or pool. The beach villas are the ones to choose - set on a strip of soft white sand and seconds from the gin-clear ocean. There are plenty of hammocks amidst the palm trees, great diving to be had, and a fabulous spa set in the jungle, perfect for soothing massages to the sound of birdsong.
SAINTE ANNE RESORT AND SPA, SAINTE ANNE MARINE NATIONAL PARK
The indulgent Sainte Anne is set on an exclusive private island at the heart of a marine park. This all-villa resort provides plenty of pampering - the spa is by Clarins and the five restaurants include Le Mont Fleuri, considered to be one of the finest in the Seychelles - its location at the top of a granite outcrop and the views are as impressive as the food. The real attraction though, has to be the warm and welcoming waters of the marine park, with snorkelling, diving and glass bottomed kayaks all revealing spectacular colourful corals and a myriad of tropical fish, rays, and if the season is right, turtles.